Photo by Jun Pang
Growing up, my grandma, Lola Luz, made rice pudding on very special mornings. They were a little different though!
Lola used to make a Filipino chocolate rice called champorado. A thick, glutenous rice pudding made with sticky rice and chocolate with condensed milk swirled on top. I remember those days like it was yesterday, a moment in time that I will always cherish. I have never had champorado since Lola passed away and I really look forward to once again reliving those food memories.
The Asians are fans of the rice pudding. It comes in many different versions. Some use short grain rice, others glutenous rice and some even use the red or black sticky rice. The flavours are much the same though, rich, thick and sweet using the flavours of pandan in most occasions then lavishly garnished with tropical fruit.
In Europe, I learned how to cook rice pudding using short grain rice. Cooked with milk and cream and flavoured with vanilla then sugared and caramelized much like a brulee. We usually baked it in the oven until warm served it with raspberry sorbet, unbelievable flavours and I loved the contrast of hot and cold on the same plate.
This recipe is a mixture of all the things I have learned. I wrote this recipe for a children’s cooking class and it was great to see how many kids love rice pudding. I love creating memories especially with food involved because when they taste them again in the future, they will always remember where, when and with whom they were with when they first learned of these flavours.
3 ½ Cups Milk
2 Cups Coconut Milk
1 Pandan Leaf
1 Tspn Vanilla Essence
¼ Cup Maple Syrup
½ Cup Arborio Rice
½ Cup Sugar
1 Cinnamon Stick
4 Cups Water
200gr Longan (or any fruit you want)
200gr Raspberries (or any berry you want)
5 Mint Leaves
For the Pudding
Place the milk, coconut milk, pandan leaf, vanilla essence and maple syrup on a sauce pan and simmer for tens minutes
Add the Arborio rice and cook on low heat for 18 minutes, stirring continuously
Test the doneness by tasting the rice, You want it soft in texture.
When it is done, allow it to sit and cool
For the Syrup
Place the sugar, cinnamon and water in a separate sauce pan and turn on medium heat
Allow to simmer for about 10 minutes to allow the flavours to develope, then allow to cool
Place the fruit in the syrup and allow to sit for at least 1 hour (overnight is preferred)
Spoon the rice pudding into a glass tumbler, almost filling it to the top
Spoon some of the marinated fruits on top along with the syrup and garnish with mint leaves
Photo by Jun Pang